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How do you start off a song?
Different songs come in different ways, let all of them come! It an start from a beat too, or a bassline ect...
I've done both. I've written lyrics and put the music to it and made the music and put lyrics to it. I've discovered that it's hardest to put music to a song that you have written the lyrics first but can definitely be done (I did so for a friend "King Siah" on his song "Motivation". It's on our website And the song on there that it labeled "You Got to Change" has the music written first and then the words were put to it. However, Working on our fourth song we are making both the music and the words at the same time and to be 100% honest, it is the most work but is turning out to make the best product. Treat making a song like building with legos. Put the pieces that you see fit first and build.
-M. R. Thompson
Seamusblonde Wrote:What makes you start writing a song? Do you start with the lyrics or the music....or both?

I have two very different writing processes that both have their place in my regimen. One involves constructing a song entirely around a melody that comes first. This will usually happen in the shower / doing laundry / cooking dinner or any other mindless activity that causes my brain to fall into a little flow and spit out something that catches my interest. Its either a lyric, a melody or a rap that point I will mentally construct an instrumental that nestles it perfectly and captures whatever the feeling at the time is. These songs are usually much more simple and catchy, with lyrics that make sense.
When I'm feeling saucy and important, I like to make things difficult. This will usually start with a complicated guitar part or a very specific but personally significant chord progression. I will then construct an instrumental around it not based on what most naturally spews from my brain, but from what logically seems to follow each part in the most impressive manner. If a song like this ever ends up having vocals, chances are the lyrics are symbolic and expressive of feeling and emotion only and probably don't conventionally mean anything at all. That's because at the time I'm much more worried about the formulaic calculation of what sounds the coolest rather than trying to say something specific. These songs might not make the best first impression but they are often of equal or greater personal/objective significance when all is said and done.

Keep in mind that I don't have any formal training or teaching in music, so when I say 'logically follows' and 'formulaic calculation' I'm really more bullshitting than talking about music theory, but that's how it feels.
Songs can come from anywhere. David Gilmour's 'Rattle that Lock' comes from the tones played at French railway stations to signal an announcement is to follow. Guess he was looking for another 4 distinctive tones just like those on SOYCD. He eventually found them.
'The purpose of life is a life of purpose' - Athena Orchard.
Bieber's songs came from the sound of his crap splashing in the bowl...
CRAZY-HORSE Wrote:Bieber's songs came from the sound of his crap splashing in the bowl...
...this is so accurate...
It depends. When I had a whole lot of drama in my life, it wasn't hard for me to find words. I had plenty of them. Now that my life has dialed down, I find that I need to find inspiration elsewhere and so I let the music lead me to a topic.
I find it is best to write a song from personal experience,
like the country singers do.
You have to live the song to feel the song.
a lot of singers draw from personal experience, not just country singers.

but yes, if you've had a personal connection with the lyrics you can express it with emotion...

but that said....
how does it work with instrumental pieces???

the reason I pose the question is because most instrumental music is sterile and bland, but other pieces contain emotion and feel, best example of 'feel' and 'emotion' in instrumental pieces for me is the work by Mark, that guy can make a guitar cry or sing IMO!
Mark Knopfler once said that the guitar solos, licks & fills are for when you don't have the right words to put in their place. For him the guitar is doing the 'singing' during those passages.
'The purpose of life is a life of purpose' - Athena Orchard.

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